Destinations, Peloponnese

Olympia

Olimpia, Greece

Olympia

In the western Peloponnese, you will find Olympia, the most famous sanctuary of ancient Greece dedicated to Zeus and the cradle of the most important athletic event of all time, the Olympic Games.

Olympia is one of the most visited and well-known destinations in Greece. It is located less than 4 hours from Athens and is easily accessible from other areas of interest in Greece such as Patras, Southern Peloponnese, or Delphi.

According to the World Heritage site, Olympia is probably the most important archaeological site in the world today. The stadium, where the Olympic Games of ancient times were celebrated and the enormous temple of Zeus, the largest temple in the Peloponnese, are some of the main attractions.

The Temple of Zeus was built between 470 and 456 BC, of Doric order with six columns in each facade and thirteen columns to the sides. Its large dimensions made it stand out from all the other buildings of the sanctuary of Olympia.

Inside the Temple, there was the statue of Zeus of ivory and gold, one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient World made by Phidias. Zeus was represented sitting on his throne in an area of ​​6 x 10 meters and a height of 13 meters.

Apart from the sanctuary of Zeus, sporting facilities used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games, administrative buildings, worship buildings, treasures and other monuments had been built at the archaeological site of Olympia.

The best way to make the most of your visit and feel the vibes of the place is to run the race just like the athletes did in ancient times!

The findings discovered in the excavations are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.

The two gables of the Sanctuary of Zeus are the most brilliant examples of archaic Greek sculpture. The eastern fronton represents the preparation of the mythical race of carriages between Pelope and Enomao, king of the Homeric Pisa, whereas the western pediment represents the combat between the Centaurs and the Lapitas with the magnificent figure of Apollo in the center.

The metopes of the sanctuary represent two of the Heracles’ feats: the offering of the birds from Lake Estinfalia to Athena, the donation to Hercules of the Apples of the Hesperides by Atlante.

The statue of Nike of Paionios, while descending from the sky, is one of the most important sculptures of the classical period and was an offering of the Messenians and Nafpaktos.

Other objects exhibited in the museum are a clay complex that shows Zeus with Ganymede, the colossal head belonging to the statue of Hera and finally the famous statue of Hermes with the newborn Dionysus, original work of Praxiteles shown separately in a particular room of the museum.

Among the objects that had been offered to Zeus by the city-states in gratitude for their victories are bronze offerings, tripods, vessels, armor, helmets and shields.

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